The USO and AFE sent top NCAA basketball coaches and sports personalities on a tour to Kuwait where they coached military basketball teams as part of Operation Hardwood II. University of Maryland coach Gary Williams spent time coaching Kuwaiti kids at a practice session at The Kuwaiti Basketball Club in 2006.
In this week’s installment, host Leeann Tweeden and Maryland head coach Gary Williams take a look back at their time in Kuwait with the USO’s own Operation Hardwood. Be sure to watch Episode 1 and Episode 2, too!
University of Texas basketball coach Rick Barnes and former U.S. Air Force Academy basketball coach and current deputy executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches Reggie Minton wear helmets and body armor as they take part in a training exercise to escape from an overturned Humvee at Camp Arifjan, May 27, 2006, during Operation Hardwood II.
Join Leeann Tweeden, coach Rick Barnes, and many more for the second in a four-part series from FOX Sports on Operation Hardwood II. Click here to watch Episode 1 and learn more about Operation Hardwood!
In 2006, 12 NCAA basketball coaches traveled to Kuwait to coach soldiers in a March Madness-style basketball tournament as part of "Operation Hardwood II."
Operation Hardwood was created in by the USO in 2005 to boost morale and bring a touch of home to those in uniform. The USO has a long tradition of bringing sports figures and sports-related events to troops overseas,“Operation Hardwood” has deployed more than 35 NCAA basketball coaches and sports personalities to Kuwait and Japan.
In 2006, a group of elite coaches participated in “Operation Hardwood II,” coaching the basketball teams in Kuwait, and participating in combat drills, tank simulations, and visited injured troops in the hospital.
As part of a special four-part series, FOX Sports is looking back at this unique USO trip to see how it changed the lives of the soldiers and the coaches. Through new interviews with some of the coaches – Rick Barnes, Tom Izzo, Kelvin Sampson, and Gary Williams – viewers get to see how their lives have been affected by the trip. We hope you enjoy this series. Let’s get it kicked off with Episode 1…